I’ve not written anything here until now, though I have responded very, very briefly to email and to comments in other fora about what is now almost a capitalized event: The Petraeus Affair.
1. Petraeus’ sexual liaison with Broadwell demonstrates a fundamental character flaw that should have been uncovered years ago: a lack of honor, demonstrated by his voiding of his marriage vows.
2. If the “nookie calls” began while he was still in military service–as yet not actually determined–it was a criminal offense under the UMCJ.
3. Regardless, his actions while serving in a sensitive security post were malfeasance in office. Any patzer in the security field is aware of the dangers of a “honeypot” and Petraeus was no patzer. “Unprofessional”? No, incompetent, and possibly criminally so.
If he can repair his relationship with his family, it will only be due to his family’s generosity, because nothing he can do would earn forgiveness.
BTW, for those slamming Holly Petraeus: grow up. My wife’s [an indeterminate age, but one almost indistinguishable from Holly Petraeus’ age *cough*]. She doesn’t look like she did in her 20s. Doesn’t matter. And, frankly, that sort of thing doesn’t really matter to any real man. Age happens. Grow up and deal with it.
But that leads to a more fundamental issue: the steady, inexorable destruction of honor and decency in our society, of which the general acceptance of infidelity and divorce are but one example. One hears the mantra, “50% of marriages end in divorce” all the time as though that were some sort of excuse for a false oath, a dishonorable statement of commitment. It’s also a lie, using a partial truth. Think: how many people do you know who have been divorced? How many of those have been divorced more than once? Besides, the 50% number is a chimera. The best surveys on the issue are all over the map, coming up with figures between 11% and 34% of marriages that HAVE ended in divorce.
But the meme is there and used constantly as an excuse for people being unfaithful… and as a way to lower expectations, erode commitment. But it’s just one of many excuses the termites of society put forth to excuse unfaithfulness. Go ahead. Pause a moment and come up with your own list of excuses for a married person having an “affair” or pursuing a divorce.
Now, I’m not asserting there are not legitimate grounds for divorce–there are (physical abuse, unfaithfulness*, desertion just about complete the list**). But there are NO excuses for being unfaithful to one’s wedding vows, one’s spouse that I will ever accept. Period.
*BTW, listing “unfaithfulness” as separate from physical abuse and desertion shows just how far our depravity has come. Both physical abuse and desertion ARE infidelity to one’s marriage vows and do not stand alone as individual legitimate reasons for divorce. They are just as much “unfaithfulness” as eschewing chastity. For the less literate reader who might stuble across this post, not any regular reader, “chastity” is simply the behavior of NOT engaging in any illicit sexual behavior. In a chaste marriage both partners can enjoy each other sexually. It’s ALL OTHER sexual liaisons they forsake. Chasity gets a bum rap in our society both from illiterate boobs and from salacious, licentious libertines. (That I had to state “physical abuse” is another: “mental cruelty” is just some waffle-worded weasel term providing a devolutionary step to “incompatible” as an illegitimately legitimized excuse for divorce.)
**Yes, that’s the list, complete and without exception or addition. Period. Look, my Wonder Woman and I love each other, but that love is at least as much a matter of decision and commitment as it is “feeling”. Sometimes, we don’t much like each other, have arguments, etc. There are things she does that irritate me. There are fewer things I do that irritate her than there probably should be, but only because she’s a better, nicer person than I am. No, seriously. But NONE of the negatives are even remotely grounds for divorce. Period. They are reasons to work at marriage.
She and I are approaching another wedding anniversary. I can only hope for the opportunity to work for another and another and another until we part in death.
(*heh* Kind of funny thing: we married at a time that was on a crest of the wave of writing one’s own vows. We wrote ours, including the standards but expanding on them. Mine promised in part to “struggle with” her for marriage, to fight to make things work–though not in those words exactly. *shrugs* I’ve kept that part for sure.)